Support from Country Haven has helped PSW training partnership thrive: instructor

The instructor for a personal support worker (PSW) training program that’s partnered with Almonte Country Haven says the strong support shown by the Lanark County long-term care home’s management team is a positive sign the collaboration will be long-standing.

Anita Plunkett, who trains students to become PSWs in a program offered by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO), says restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic mean she can’t visit the home to evaluate students doing their fieldwork.

But the Almonte Country Haven management team has stepped up and supervised students and assessed their skill sets, and there has been constant communication with Plunkett throughout the pandemic.

Plunkett says she cannot stress how important this has been.

“When students come through our program and are hired at Almonte Country Haven, the home has been so supportive of the students to make sure that the DOC (director of care), the registered staff, or a combination, are helping to evaluate the students to ensure they meet the PSW training standards,” Plunkett tells The OMNIway.

“I still do parking-lot visits and virtual visits with the students to support them in any way, so there is constant communication. But without the support the home has (provided), I don’t think it would be as successful as it has been.”

The CDSBEO offers the PSW training program at a comparatively low cost. The CDSBEO has partnered with the Canadian Career Academy to cover a portion of students’ tuition through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. Students are also permitted to earn money while completing their work placement hours.

As part of the CDSBEO’s partnership with the home, students who are doing their placement at Almonte Country Haven have the remaining portion of their tuition covered through OMNI Health Care’s bursary program and are given a job once they complete their training.

Plunkett says the fact that students can earn money while they do their placement and have jobs waiting for them once they complete the program is another important factor that will help make the arrangement a viable, long-term partnership.

“The students really appreciate the ability to be in the training program while they’re working because they get to apply their knowledge and skills right away and in a timely fashion,” she says.

– This is Part 2 of a four-part story

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